PLDT, Smart pilot enhanced Unicef assessment tool

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), are set to pilot Unicef’s updated tool, advancing children’s welfare in the conduct of its business operations.

As part of shared goals to keep children safe online as abuse and exploitation proliferate in the pandemic, PLDT and Smart deepen their collaboration with Unicef through the adoption of the children’s welfare organization’s updated tool.

The Mobile Operators Child Rights Impact Self-Assessment (MO-CRIA) tool enables mobile operators to fully understand the challenges, opportunities, and child rights impact related to their industry and operations and mitigate potential negative impact. It is designed to strengthen corporate practices, policies, and processes, to make it possible for children globally to safely explore and enjoy the best of what the information and communication technology industry have to offer.

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“The MO-CRIA guided us in identifying our impact to children across disciplines — noting potential risks, and also opportunities to create more value,” said Cathy Yap-Yang, FVP and group head of Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart, at the recent virtual launch of Unicef’s updated MO-CRIA tool in Geneva and Bangkok. “It gave us valuable insight on the need to take further comprehensive measures for our broad stakeholder segments, toward a more focused approach to address specific needs of children.”

Child rights and business

“Children comprise 35% of the world’s population, so their rights are integrally part of comprehensive approaches to sustainability in responsible and purposeful business,” said Andrew Mawson, chief of Child Rights and Business at Unicef. “If you don’t ask the right questions, one doesn’t ever really find out the right answers. If one doesn’t investigate their impact on children, one will never know what that impact actually is. And that is a vulnerable place for any business to be in the contemporary world.”

Before piloting the new MO-CRIA, PLDT and Smart have been engaging Unicef in advancing children’s welfare. Recently they renewed their commitment in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work with Unicef to protect children and advance their rights.

Since the signing of the initial MOU in January 2018, PLDT has become the first Philippine company to integrate child rights into its business. Officials from PLDT and Smart have undergone training and consultations with Unicef that provided baseline understanding and relevant framework for the rollout of child rights-based business policies in the context of the workplace, the marketplace, and the community. With this blueprint in place, PLDT and Smart are now strengthening their commitment to champion the welfare of Filipino children as the key to long-term viability and sustainability.